Tag Archives: Darragh Kenny

Darragh Kenny and Gatsby Go Two-for-Two at American Gold Cup CSI4*-W

Darragh Kenny and Gatsby are on a roll, claiming four consecutive victories together.

North Salem, NY – September 12, 2014 – For anyone looking to wager on Sunday’s $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI4*W Grand Prix, consider placing a bet on Darragh Kenny. The Irishman is on quite the hot streak at this year’s American Gold Cup; yesterday he earned a definitive victory in the $34,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake aboard Allison Toffolon’s Gatsby, and today the same duo did it again, clinching the win in the $100,000 Hermès American Gold Cup Qualifier.

Rewind to a month ago and Kenny had yet to even show the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse. Now a few short weeks later, the pair has racked up an impressive track record, winning all four of their last four attempts.

“He’s an amazing horse,” Kenny said. “He just keeps winning all the time. It’s unbelievable.”

With three wins with Kenny already under his belt, today’s 1.60m track, set on the beautiful grass field at Old Salem Farm, served as the next big test for Gatsby.

“This is the first time that I’ve ever jumped him this big and he jumped it so easily,” Kenny said. “I was really happy with him.”

Many other more experienced horses did not fare as well as Gatsby, as rails continued to roll out of cups throughout the challenging course, designed by Alan Wade and intended to separate the best of the best from the rest for qualification to compete in Sunday’s $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI*4W Grand Prix.

Watch an interview with Darragh Kenny following his win, including clips of his jump-off ride.

“Alan Wade is an Irish course designer, and he is to me one of the best course designers in the world,” Kenny said. “He’s incredible. He built a really super course today. It caused a lot of problems everywhere, not just in one place. I think he got a great outcome in the class.”

Of the 59 competitors competing in the first round, five would advance without fault to the jump-off, while 15 others would finish on just four faults.

Young rider Wilton Porter and his mount Diamonte Darco were the first to go clear in the opening round, but a thrown shoe in the schooling ring would move the talented pair down the return list for the jump-off.

Instead, it was Christine McCrea with Zerly, owned by Candy Tribble of Suffield, CT, who came back first to jump-off. The pair was clear all the way to the final fence, a large, orange Hermès oxer, but the rail hit the ground leaving them with four faults in a time of 48.120 seconds. Megan Nusz and Dynamo, owned by Amalaya Investments of Houston, TX, were next in the ring, and they were met with the same fate as a rail came down on the last oxer. The pair’s slightly quicker time of 47.610 seconds would move them just ahead of McCrea and Zerly for the eventual fourth place finish.

Kenny and Gatsby were the next to return, and they left nothing to chance going clear all the way through to the end in a quick time of 44.280 seconds.

“I knew that Brianne [Goutal] could be very fast, and Wilton [Porter], his horse pulled a shoe in the warm-up, so he had to go after me. So I knew I had to be quick. In the end it proved to be quick enough,” Kenny said.

With shoe back on, Porter and Diamonte Darco returned after Kenny to go clear in a time of 51.850 seconds, a time that would be good enough for the third place finish in the end.

Brianne Goutal and Nice De Prissey finished second in the $100,000 Hermes American Gold Cup Grand Prix Qualifier
Brianne Goutal and Nice De Prissey finished second in the $100,000 Hermes American Gold Cup Grand Prix Qualifier

Edging out Porter for the second place spot were last year’s $200,000 American Invitational CSI4*-W Grand Prix winners, Brianne Goutal and Nice de Prissey. The pair ended on a clear round in a time of 51.460 seconds. For the second day in a row, Kenny won the class by a significant margin of more than five seconds.

Catherine Tyree First and Second in $3,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Power and Speed

Not unlike Kenny, Catherine Tyree is having her own bit of a win streak, but for Tyree the streak today came within just one class. The Northwestern University sophomore took both of the top two spots in the morning’s $3,000 Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumper Power and Speed class. She claimed the victory aboard her own Wetter and finished in a close second with Free Style Van Polderhof.

“I’m so happy. Both horses were so great. I couldn’t have asked them to do anything better,” Tyree said. “They both really fought today and were so on their game.”

Tyree continued, “Wetter’s pretty unconventional, but I’ve had him for over two years now, so I’ve adapted my ride to him. I know him like the back of my hand. We’ve done a lot together. I’m really happy that he’s finally in the spotlight and that he got his win because he’s been so great for me ever since I got him. Then Freestyle: She’s 9 years old, but she’s a little bit on the greener side so we just started going fast and kind of starting to challenge her a little bit. She’s been so great so I’m really thrilled with how she was today.”

Tyree heads back to Northwestern next week, but she is always happy to be able to make the trip to the American Gold Cup.

“This is, I think, one of the nicest shows that we have in America. Everything is done so well for the riders and the horses,” Tyree said. “The stalls are great. The rings are phenomenal. With Alan Wade here you get really, really nice courses on the field. It’s a top show, like something in Europe.”

The competition for juniors, amateurs and professionals alike continues at Old Salem Farm tomorrow beginning at 9 a.m. Highlights of the day will include the $34,000 Fidelity Investments Speed Derby and the Region 2 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Regional Championships.

On Sunday, the horse show comes to an exciting conclusion with the $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI4*W Grand Prix which kicks off at 2 p.m. EST.

All competition will be webcast live throughout the week at www.theamericangoldcup.com, and more information can be found by visiting the website or www.stadiumjumping.com.

45th Annual American Gold Cup Fast Facts

What:
The $200,000 American Gold Cup, an FEI World Cup Qualifying Competition CSI4*-W

When:
September 10-14, 2014

Where:
Old Salem Farm, 190 June Road, North Salem, NY

Hours:
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday with the ASPCA Regional Championships on Saturday afternoon.

Facility: Old Salem Farm is New York State’s Westchester County’s premier equestrian facility, offering 26 annual competitions, boarding, top-level training and sales. It offers state-of-the-art facilities surrounded by 120 gorgeous acres.

Stabling:
Stalls are 10 x 10 and housed under canvas. The FEI stalls are 10 x 12 and stabling area will be secured by fencing with 24/7 security. FEI horses will be scheduled to school separately from non-FEI horses. Schedules will be posted and riders will be given notification of times during the horse inspection.

Parking:
Available on the grounds

Directions:
From Interstate 84 or Interstate 287: Take interstate 684 to exit 8 (Hardscrabble Road), turn right. Old Salem Farm is on the right.

Information:
Before Show – before 9/6/14: 941-744-5465/800-237-8924
During Show – 914-669-5610 ext 201
Stable office – 941-744-5465
Prize List Advertising – 941-744-5465
Vendors – Matt Morrissey 941-915-3457

Website – www.theamericangoldcup.com

Televised Broadcast:
The 2014 American Gold Cup Grand Prix will be broadcast on NBC Sports Sunday, September 21 at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Tickets:

Weekdays: Admission is free to the public.
Saturday and Sunday: Admission is $20 per person, $15 per child 4-12 years and seniors 65+, children 3 and under are free.

Gates open at:
Wednesday – Saturday: 8 a.m.
Sunday: 12 noon

Tickets are on sale now and are available online at www.theamericangoldcup.com and at the gate. (Online ticket sales will be available June 1 – Sept. 1.)

Charity Partners:

JustWorld International
http://www.justworldinternational.org/

ASPCA
http://aspca.org/

Sponsorship Opportunities:

Matt Morrissey
941.915.3457
matt.morrissey@stadiumjumping.com

Connie Sawyer
518.461.6288
sawyer.equestrianevents@gmail.com

Advertising Opportunities:

Mary Silcox 800-237-8924
mary.silcox@stadiumjumping.com

Ring dimensions and footing:
Grand Prix Field 350′x450′, footing bluegrass mix turf. Grand Prix Annex 200′x250′, Schooling 130′x170′. Jumper Annex 146′x307′, Schooling 155′x173′. Indoor 115′x195′, Schooling 74′x135′. Hunter 138′x243′, Schooling 108′x158′. Footing in all arenas is all- weather German-designed fiber and sand.

Hotels:
Official Hotel of the American Gold Cup
Danbury Crown Plaza
(877) 270 1393
Ridgefield, CT

West Lane Inn (203) 438-7323
Brewster, NY 5 – 10 min
Heidi’s Motel (845) 279-8011
Mt. Kisco, NY 5 – 10 min
Holiday Inn (914) 241-2600
Danbury, CT 10-20 min from grounds
Hilton Gardens (203) 205-2000
Comfort Inn (203) 205-0800
Danbury Plaza (203) 795-0600
Ethan Allen (203) 774-1776
Spring Hill Suites (203) 744-7333
Residence Inn (203) 797-1256

Management:
Stadium Jumping, Inc.
1301 Sixth Ave. West, Suite 406
Bradenton, FL 34205
Tel: (941) 744-5465 Fax: (941) 744-0874

Media Contact:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Boulevard, Suite 105 Wellington, FL 33414
Tel: 561.753.3389 Fax: 561.753.3386
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
www.phelpsmediagroup.com

Darragh Kenny Is Great with Gatsby at American Gold Cup CSI4*-W

Darragh Kenny and Gatsby.

North Salem, NY – September 11, 2014 – When Darragh Kenny and Gatsby entered the ring as one of the last to go in today’s $34,000 Don Little Memorial Welcome Stake, the time to beat sat at 76.040 seconds. That time, held by Jessica Springsteen and Vindicat W, had been set nearly 50 rounds before and looked like it would remain untouchable.

But by the time Kenny and Gatsby trotted off the grass grand prix field at Old Salem Farm, they had blown Springsteen’s time out of the water by nearly 5.5 seconds and clinched the biggest victory of the day at the American Gold Cup CSI4*-W.

“He’s unbelievable,” Kenny said of Gatsby. “He’s a very fast horse, and he’s very easy to go quick on. He’s so careful, and he just wants to win. He’s truly a fantastic horse.”

Alan Wade set the course for today’s highlight class, which was run according to FEI Art. 238.2.1 with riders pinned according to penalties and time with no jump-off.

Of the 71 starters, 10 produced clear rounds, with Candice King and Kismet 50 paving the way as the early clear pathfinder in a time of 81.50 seconds.

King and Kismet 50’s time was toppled by the next to go clear, as Springsteen, of Colts Neck, NJ, and Vindicat W shaved more than 5 seconds off to take over the lead. Seven of the remaining clears turned in great efforts but all finished more than a second outside of Springsteen’s time. Paul O’Shea and Skara Glenn’s Sienna would come the closest and end up being the eventual third place finishers with a time of 77.840 seconds, while fourth place would go to Schuyler Riley and Dobra de Porceyo who had a time of 78.580 seconds.

Only Kenny and Gatsby made beating the time look easy as the cleared the final vertical with plenty of room and seconds to spare.

The large margin of victory over the 70 other horses competing was an impressive feat in itself, but perhaps equally impressive is the fact that the win today marks Kenny and Gatsby’s third victory in a row.

Owned by Allison Toffolon of Bronxville, NY, Gatsby came to Kenny for the ride when Toffolon went off to school this fall at Southern Methodist University. Since then, Kenny has shown the 10-year-old Irish Sport Horse four times, finishing second the first time out and first in all three of their last efforts, including the win in the $15,000 Merill Lynch Speed Derby and the $10,000 Open Jumpers, both at the Hampton Classic.

“He’s been absolutely incredible. I’m lucky to get the chance to ride him,” Kenny said.

Toffolon will return to the saddle on Gatsby during the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, but in the meantime, there is no place that Kenny would rather have the ride on the stallion than at the American Gold Cup.

“I love this horse show. It’s a great horse show with a great atmosphere,” Kenny said. “They run it really well. The footing is super, and it’s a really enjoyable horse show to be at.”

Kenny continued, “If I had to pick one thing? It’s the atmosphere. It feels like a top show in Europe.”

Prior to Kenny’s victory, the juniors and amateurs took their turn on the grass field for the $3,000 High Junior/Amateur-Owner Jumpers, and it was Michael Hughes’ turn to ride away with a win. He took the top call with Luxina while second place went to Catherine Tyree and her own Don’t Go, with Richard Neal and his mount Quadam rounding out the top three.

Jessica Springsteen and Vindicat W
Jessica Springsteen and Vindicat W

The 2014 edition of the American Gold Cup CSI4*-W will continue tomorrow with the $100,000 Hermès American Gold Cup Qualifier beginning at 1:30 p.m. Saturday’s highlight events will include the $34,000 Fidelity Investments Speed Derby and the Region 2 ASPCA/NHSAA Maclay Regional Championships. The five day horse show culminates on Sunday with the $200,000 American Gold Cup CSI4*W Grand Prix which kicks off at 2 p.m. EST.

All competition will be webcast live throughout the week at www.theamericangoldcup.com, and more information can be found by visiting the website or www.stadiumjumping.com.

45th Annual American Gold Cup Fast Facts

What:
The $200,000 American Gold Cup, an FEI World Cup Qualifying Competition CSI4*-W

When:
September 10-14, 2014

Where:
Old Salem Farm, 190 June Road, North Salem, NY

Hours:
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday with the ASPCA Regional Championships on Saturday afternoon.

Facility: Old Salem Farm is New York State’s Westchester County’s premier equestrian facility, offering 26 annual competitions, boarding, top-level training and sales. It offers state-of-the-art facilities surrounded by 120 gorgeous acres.

Stabling:
Stalls are 10 x 10 and housed under canvas. The FEI stalls are 10 x 12 and stabling area will be secured by fencing with 24/7 security. FEI horses will be scheduled to school separately from non-FEI horses. Schedules will be posted and riders will be given notification of times during the horse inspection.

Parking:
Available on the grounds

Directions:
From Interstate 84 or Interstate 287: Take interstate 684 to exit 8 (Hardscrabble Road), turn right. Old Salem Farm is on the right.

Information:
Before Show – before 9/6/14: 941-744-5465/800-237-8924
During Show – 914-669-5610 ext 201
Stable office – 941-744-5465
Prize List Advertising – 941-744-5465
Vendors – Matt Morrissey 941-915-3457

Website – www.theamericangoldcup.com

Televised Broadcast:
The 2014 American Gold Cup Grand Prix will be broadcast on NBC Sports Sunday, September 21 at 4:00 p.m. EST.

Tickets:

Weekdays: Admission is free to the public.
Saturday and Sunday: Admission is $20 per person, $15 per child 4-12 years and seniors 65+, children 3 and under are free.

Gates open at:
Wednesday – Saturday: 8 a.m.
Sunday: 12 noon

Tickets are on sale now and are available online at www.theamericangoldcup.com and at the gate. (Online ticket sales will be available June 1 – Sept. 1.)

Charity Partners:

JustWorld International
http://www.justworldinternational.org/

ASPCA
http://aspca.org/

Sponsorship Opportunities:

Matt Morrissey
941.915.3457
matt.morrissey@stadiumjumping.com

Connie Sawyer
518.461.6288
sawyer.equestrianevents@gmail.com

Advertising Opportunities:

Mary Silcox 800-237-8924
mary.silcox@stadiumjumping.com

Ring dimensions and footing:
Grand Prix Field 350′x450′, footing bluegrass mix turf. Grand Prix Annex 200′x250′, Schooling 130′x170′. Jumper Annex 146′x307′, Schooling 155′x173′. Indoor 115′x195′, Schooling 74′x135′. Hunter 138′x243′, Schooling 108′x158′. Footing in all arenas is all- weather German-designed fiber and sand.

Hotels:
Official Hotel of the American Gold Cup
Danbury Crown Plaza
(877) 270 1393
Ridgefield, CT

West Lane Inn (203) 438-7323
Brewster, NY 5 – 10 min
Heidi’s Motel (845) 279-8011
Mt. Kisco, NY 5 – 10 min
Holiday Inn (914) 241-2600
Danbury, CT 10-20 min from grounds
Hilton Gardens (203) 205-2000
Comfort Inn (203) 205-0800
Danbury Plaza (203) 795-0600
Ethan Allen (203) 774-1776
Spring Hill Suites (203) 744-7333
Residence Inn (203) 797-1256

Management:
Stadium Jumping, Inc.
1301 Sixth Ave. West, Suite 406
Bradenton, FL 34205
Tel: (941) 744-5465 Fax: (941) 744-0874

Media Contact:
Phelps Media Group, Inc.
12012 South Shore Boulevard, Suite 105 Wellington, FL 33414
Tel: 561.753.3389 Fax: 561.753.3386
pmginfo@phelpsmediagroup.com
www.phelpsmediagroup.com

Bluman and Apardi Win G&C Farm Cup at Spruce Meadows ‘Pan American’

Daniel Bluman and Apardi. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Darragh Kenny and Fantasy Win $8,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m

Calgary, AB, Canada – July 10, 2014 – Spruce Meadows kicked off its final week of summer competition with the ‘Pan American’ Tournament CSI 5* on Thursday and a win for Colombia’s Daniel Bluman and Apardi in the day’s feature $33,500 G&C Farm Cup 1.50m. Ireland’s Darragh Kenny also continued his hot streak this summer by winning the first international competition of the day riding Fantasy in the $8,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m. The ‘Pan American’ Tournament runs July 10-13, featuring the $400,000 Pan American Cup presented by Rolex on Sunday, July 13.

Uliano Vezzani of Italy set the track for 54 starters in Thursday’s G&C Farm Cup, held in the Meadows on the Green with 15 qualifying for the jump-off. Three chose not to jump the short course, leaving 12 to advance with five double clear rounds.

Mexico’s Antonio Chedraui was the first rider to clear the jump-off track with La Bamba and set the pace in 41.169 seconds to eventually take third place honors. Four rounds later, Pablo Barrios (VEN) and ZL Group, Inc.’s Zara Leandra took the lead in 38.691 seconds, but they were soon pushed back to second place. Last to go, Daniel Bluman and Ricardo and Alberto Simhon’s Apardi sped through the track in 37.953 seconds to take the win.

Kent Farrington (USA) and Robin Parsky’s Gazelle finished fourth in 41.352 seconds. Nicolas Pizarro (MEX) and Polasko placed fifth with a time of 43.060 seconds.

Bluman started riding Apardi, a nine-year-old KWPN stallion (Corland x Kannan), when the horse was seven years old. The pair won the Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper Final during the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL, in 2013. Apardi has since stepped up to the next level and become a competitive horse in Bluman’s string.

“From the moment I got him from Colombia, he has always looked like a careful horse,” Bluman stated. “He was a little bit difficult. He has a lot of energy and he gets a little bit anxious, but he always tries to be careful no matter what. It has been a long way to get the dressage going well and get his body to feel good and improve the rideability. I have to say that already one year ago when he first came to Spruce he already started showing special things. Right before coming to Spruce last year he won the final in Wellington, and then here at Spruce he jumped very well.”

“Through the year as an eight-year-old he jumped in Europe and he was like every young horse, a little up and down, but he has been very good here this year,” Bluman said. “When he arrived, unfortunately he got a little bit hurt on the plane coming from Europe, so I couldn’t show him the first two weeks, but after that he started and he has been jumping really good. The first week he was clear the first day and then last week he was second in the 1.50m on Sunday, so he has been knocking on the door a little bit. Right now he is at the point where he is ready to start winning classes.”

Going in last for the jump-off, Bluman had the opportunity to watch some of the early riders, including the leading round of Pablo Barrios.

“I knew Pablo was leading. Pablo is a great friend of mine and a former trainer and I really wanted to beat him,” Bluman declared. “We’re good buddies, but of course every time you have a little chance or a little opening to beat your trainer, it’s nice. It gives you a good feeling. Of course it is very healthy competition between us. It turned out well. This is the first win of the season for me and the first class that I have won here in two years, so I am very happy. I have been getting too many second places.”

In the jump-off, Bluman knew exactly where Barrios had left the door open, and he went full out to the final fence.

“I got Pablo to the last jump definitely,” Bluman affirmed. “I know, because I spoke to Pablo when he came out of the course. He told me that he had been neat, but he knew that he had left an opening for the last jump. I did for sure at least one stride less in the last line. I know I have a super careful horse that at the end I can run as hard as I want, and the moment I let him read the jump, he is going to clear it. When I landed, without looking at the tower, I felt confident that I had him.”

Apardi will jump Saturday’s $83,000 Investors Group Cup 1.50m to conclude his summer at Spruce Meadows. He will then fly back to Europe to jump as second horse in Valkenswaard and will step up to be Bluman’s first horse in the grand prix in Dublin. “We have big hopes for him,” Bluman concluded.

Kenny Continues Hot Streak

Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) is the course designer in the All Canada Ring this week, which saw a win for Darragh Kenny of Ireland in the $8,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m to kick off the final week of summer competition at Spruce Meadows. Kenny and the nine-year-old Hanoverian mare, Fantasy (For Pleasure x Acorado), completed the fastest of 13 clear rounds out of 45 total competitors over D’Ambrosio’s speed track. Their winning time of 70.819 seconds just edged out Hector Florentino (DOM) and Anemone’s Vicky, owned by Stransky’s Mission Farms. They held the lead through most of the competition with a time of 71.066 seconds, but had to settle for second. Lisa Carlsen (CAN) and Alycia Hayes’ World’s Judgment finished third in 71.965 seconds.

Darragh Kenny and Fantasy
Darragh Kenny and Fantasy

Fantasy is shown under the ownership of Oakland Ventures LLC. She was purchased by Darragh Kenny, in partnership with trainer Don Stewart, in March. Kenny saw the mare compete with rider Kyle Timm in Ocala, FL, and bought her soon after.

“She was only jumping 1.35m and had done one 1.40m,” Kenny explained. “I had seen the mare the September before and really liked her. She is great quality, lots of scope, super blood, and really careful. I think she is going to be very nice, I am just going to take my time with her a little bit.”

“She is a really, really interesting mare,” Kenny said. “She has been placed a couple of times in the 1.45m classes. She did the two derbies here and she was very good in those. She is still quite green in her riding, but she is super brave, and I think she has a lot of ability. I think she can do really good things.”

Fantasy’s confidence and ability led Kenny to jump her in the derby competitions for experience this summer, and she fared well with the demanding course both times.

“She is extremely brave. She does all that stuff very well,” Kenny noted. “I wanted to do that with her because it is good for her to get that kind of experience going around the ring. It is bigger jumps without putting her in a class that is too big for her. You have lots more space in the derby and lots more room to set up the jumps, so you don’t make that many mistakes at the jumps. I think it is easier for her to figure out how to jump bigger jumps that way.”

Fantasy’s experience came into play in her win Thursday morning where Kenny kept a tidy track to shave off the time.

“I didn’t actually go that fast; I just stayed very tight,” he explained. “She turns really well and you can turn back to any jump and she has the jump to jump it easy, so I just stayed very tight. There was an option to do the grob or do a double that was on the left side, which was actually a shorter line to do the double, and I just did that with her because I know she jumps the grob no problem.”

The ‘Pan American’ Tournament at Spruce Meadows will continue on Friday with the $33,500 Ashcor Technologies Cup 1.50m in the Meadows on the Green. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com
803.240.7488
jenniferwoodmedia.com

Spruce Meadows Media Services
caroline.weilinger@sprucemeadows.com
403.974.4232
sprucemeadows.com

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5 Top LaFarge Cup at Spruce Meadows

Eric Lamaze and Fine Lady 5. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Darragh Kenny and Wilton Porter Win 1.45m Jump-Offs

Calgary, AB, Canada – July 4, 2014 – The Spruce Meadows ‘North American’ Tournament continued with wins for two of this summer’s top riders as well as an exciting first for a young up-and-comer in the International Ring on Friday. Eric Lamaze (CAN) and Fine Lady 5 topped the $50,000 LaFarge Cup 1.50m, Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Chin Quidam VDL won the $33,500 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m, and Wilton Porter (USA) and Diamonte Darco were victorious in the $33,500 Friends of the Meadows Jumper 1.45m.

Watch highlights from Friday’s competition!

The ‘North American’ Tournament continues through July 6, featuring the $210,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Saturday and the $210,000 Cenovus Energy Classic 1.50m Derby on Sunday.

Leopoldo Palacios of Venezuela is the course designer in the International Ring for the week and set some challenging tracks on Friday. In the $50,000 LaFarge Cup, Palacios saw 25 entries with five clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Eric Lamaze and Artisan Farms LLC’s Fine Lady 5 got the win with the only double clear round in 53.16 seconds. Richie Moloney (IRL) and Equinimity LLC’s Freestyle de Muze were clear over the jumps and finished with one time fault in 57.68 seconds. McLain Ward (USA) and his own and Susan Heller’s d’Ulien van de Smeets had the fastest jump-off time of 46.63 seconds, but incurred four faults to finish third.

Lamaze and Fine Lady 5, the 11-year-old Hanoverian mare by Forsyth x Hauptstutbuch, are already on their third international victory this summer in a brand new partnership that solidified quickly.

“I didn’t know her very much before I came here, so I really got to know her on this summer tour,” Lamaze stated. “What I found out about her is that she is absolutely 100% reliable. She really wants to stay off the fences. She gets a little excited and moves right to left very quickly sometimes, so it took me a little bit to adjust to her, but she’s a total class horse for the 1.50m division. Who knows what else is in the future for her, but at this height I feel like I’m on the very best horse I can have for this.”

Fine Lady came to Artisan Farms when Lamaze needed a horse to fill the 1.50m speed classes in his string of top mounts, and the purchase has proved to be an excellent investment. Although they have only done a few jump-off rounds together, Lamaze knew he could trust his horse completely.

“It was wide open, and she’s really careful,” he stated. “The double was the trick to jump after the long gallop from one to two. I knew if McLain was to be clear, I was going to have a harder night. He had an unfortunate four faults, so things became a little bit easier. With one time fault to beat, I felt pretty good about things, but you never know about things in this sport. You could have the first jump down, the last fence, a light rub and it comes down. It’s not because all you have to do is go clear that it works every single time. I’m very happy with the result. I felt that I was on the right horse to accomplish this mission.”

“The great thing about this mare is that she is really fast, and she goes fast, but you can always push,” Lamaze added. “That’s why she is so good. Great horses, it doesn’t matter how fast you get to the fence, if they’re asking for leg when you get there, they are very competitive horses. In the jump-off tonight, I didn’t really have to hold her back. She always asks for more leg. I just sort of maintained a rhythm that I thought would be under the time allowed, and that’s all I had to do.”

After another great win, Lamaze looks forward to jumping Fine Lady 5 in Saturday’s $85,000 TD Cup 1.50m. He will also compete in the $210,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup 1.60m with Powerplay.

Darragh Kenny and Chin Quidam VDL
Darragh Kenny and Chin Quidam VDL

Kenny Can’t Be Beat

Ireland’s Darragh Kenny continued an incredible summer at Spruce Meadows with another win on Friday afternoon, this time taking the $33,500 Pepsi Challenge 1.45m aboard Hyperion Stud LLC’s Chin Quidam VDL, an eight-year-old KWPN stallion by Chin Chin x Quidam de Revel. Including Friday’s win, Kenny has now had eight individual FEI victories over the course of four weeks at Spruce Meadows as well as a team Nations Cup win for Ireland.

In Friday’s Pepsi Challenge, course designer Leopoldo Palacios set the track for 42 entries and saw 10 advance to the jump-off with four double clear rounds. Eric Lamaze went first over the short course with Artisan Farms LLC’s Check Picobello Z in 39.78 seconds, but Kenny stole the lead with Chin Quidam VDL in 35.63 seconds a few rounds later. Shane Sweetnam (IRL) then moved into second with Spy Coast Farm LLC’s Mimosa in 36.97 seconds. Last to go, Leslie Howard (USA) went for the clear round in 40.87 seconds with Moormann, Rolf u. Paul Schockemohle’s Balboa 6 to finish fourth. Frances Land (USA) had the time in hand with Vieanne in 35.21 seconds, but had four faults at the final fence to place fifth.

“I didn’t know what exactly I was doing when I went in the ring,” Kenny admitted after his round. “He’s very quick, and he’s very careful. I didn’t know if he was going to spook on the inside turn from one to two in the jump-off, but he didn’t at all. Everybody had said to me that it was going to be very difficult to do six strides to the double (combination), but I knew that he had such a big stride that it was going to be easy for him. I just cut inside, did the six, and then I knew I was one stride ahead at that stage, so then I just kept going. I tried to do seven to the last, but I got caught wide, so I had to do eight (strides), but it turned out to be good enough.”

“I was very lucky that Frances Land hit the last jump because she could have done 11 strides to the last jump and still beaten me,” Kenny added with a laugh.

Chin Quidam VDL is a breeding stallion for Hyperion Stud in Virginia. Kenny started riding the horse in Florida over the winter and has been stepping him up this summer.

“He’s a really, really nice horse, and he only started doing the 1.45m here at Spruce,” Kenny noted. “He has really come a long way. He won a national 1.45m here also and was second in another. Today was only his second time in the big ring, and he really performed well. He is quite competitive.”

In addition to his own success throughout the summer series, Kenny has coached many of his students to top ribbons. One student, Taylor Alexander, finished ninth with her horse G&C Flash in the Pepsi Challenge. Kenny explained that it is a big job to make sure all of his horses and riders are prepared in the same classes throughout the day, but showing together also keeps him on top of his game.

“For me, I really enjoy working with students,” he acknowledged. “I really enjoy helping people get to their goals in their careers. I know from my own experience, I ask nearly all the top riders questions all the time, so I think it’s good for my students that they also have someone that’s riding in the ring and can get on the horse and feel what they feel, and have an idea of what’s going on.”

“It’s a huge balance when you’re walking the course,” Kenny pointed out. “You have to teach every person differently because of how they ride and the horse that they are on. I really try in my training to individualize the horses. I don’t try to use the same idea for every horse. I see what each horse needs to improve on and do that, whether it’s my own horses or my clients’ horses.”

Wilton Porter and Diamonte Darco
Wilton Porter and Diamonte Darco

Porter Wins Big with Diamonte Darco

Twenty-year-old Wilton Porter (USA) got his first International win at Spruce Meadows Friday morning riding Sleepy P Ranch LLC’s Diamonte Darco in the $33,500 Friends of the Meadows 1.45m. Porter got the nine-year-old mare, a Great Britain Sport Horse by Unbelievable Darco, this winter. The pair first showed in Florida for a few months and then traveled to Europe in May before starting up in Calgary last week. Jumping in the world-renowned International Ring, they made their first win together a big one.

Forty-three entries showed in the first competition of the day with nine clear rounds to advance to the jump-off. Porter and Diamonte Darco had the advantage of being last to go over the short course. When no one else was able to finish without fault, they only had the round of two time faults in 52.37 seconds from Christine McCrea and Candy Tribble’s Win For Life to beat. Porter explained that he thought he was almost not fast enough, but he galloped down to the final fence and jumped clear in 50.33 seconds to take top honors.

“It was a good jump-off to go last in,” the rider smiled. “I was right at the in-gate when Chris went, and I watched her round. It wasn’t super slow, but it wasn’t all out. I knew that I didn’t need to race and have a rail down because I was trying to go too fast. Actually, once I started doing the course and I was coming around to the second to last jump, I thought, ‘I’m pretty slow. I might be slower than her.’ So I had to kind of race to the last (jump), but it was a wall. Horses tend to back themselves off of that, so it worked out well.”

“It’s really exciting,” Porter said of his momentous win. “I have been coming to Spruce for four years and competing in the International Ring for three years. I have had some good placings in here, but I had not gotten that victory yet, so it is really special to have all of the hard work pay off.”

Porter was also excited to get the win with a relatively new horse in Diamonte Darco. He had a great round in the competition with his veteran partner Paloubet as well, but had one time fault to finish just out of the ribbons.

Porter explained that the mare has been gradually stepping up to bigger classes, and that although she is only nine years old and a little green at this level of competition, she handled it very well.

“She’s pretty fiery; a fiery personality, and she’s definitely very sensitive,” he said of the ride. “I have adjusted to that. She is very different from my other horse, Paloubet, who is really strong and powerful. I am just sort of trying to hold on to him, whereas with her, it is more of a finesse to it. She’s very careful. The distance at the jump is very important for her.”

With a fantastic win under his belt, Porter has big plans for the rest of the summer. Diamonte Darco will travel to Kentucky to be his mount at the Adequan FEI North American Junior/Young Rider Championships while Paloubet will fly over to Europe to give Porter the ride in his first senior Nations Cup team on the United States Under 25 tour in Bratislava, Slovakia.

The ‘North American’ Tournament continues on Saturday with the $85,000 TD Cup 1.50m and the $210,000 ATCO Power Queen Elizabeth II Cup 1.60m. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

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Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL Win McDaniel & Assoc. Cup at Spruce Meadows

Darragh Kenny of IRL riding Alpha VDL. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Spooner Makes It Three in a Row

Calgary, AB, Canada – June 28, 2014 – The ‘Canada One’ Tournament at Spruce Meadows continued on Saturday featuring the $33,500 McDaniel & Associates Cup 1.55m with a win for Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL. The small margin of six one-thousandths of a second separated Kenny from second place finisher Kirsten Coe (USA) aboard Czardas 30.

The $8,000 Francis Family Cup 1.45m was also held in the Chinook Ring in the morning with another win for USA’s Richard Spooner, giving the rider three major wins with three different horses this week. The ‘Canada One’ Tournament concludes on Sunday, June 29, with the $125,000 Imperial Challenge 1.55m.

Cristina Larangeiro of Portugal was the course designer for the McDaniel & Associates Cup, which saw 17 first round entries, and seven advancing to the jump-off in the Meadows on the Green. Darragh Kenny and Eva Castegren’s Alpha VDL jumped the first clear round over the short course in 39.661 seconds for the win. Last to go, Kirsten Coe and Ilan Ferder’s Czardas 30 came incredibly close to taking over the lead, but finished just shy in 39.667 seconds. Ben Asselin (CAN) and Linda Southern-Heathcott’s Doremi completed the only other double clear round in 46.29 seconds to finish third.

Alpha VDL, a nine-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding by Corland x Emilion, has had great success with Kenny in the irons this year and continued his progression by jumping to victory over his first 1.55m track on Saturday. Kenny knew that his horse had the foot speed to win and went for a fast, clear round after the first three riders had rails.

“He is naturally a quick enough horse, and he has won some good classes already,” Kenny noted. “I knew there were places I could be quick. I left out a stride in one line. I did six where most people did seven. I wanted to just have a good round and see where I ended up with that.”

Commenting on Alpha VDL’s rise to the top, Kenny smiled, “His progression has been incredible. The horse has gone from jumping 1.40m classes at the start of Florida to winning grand prixs. He won a grand prix in Ocala, he won a grand prix in Saugerties, and now he won this 1.55m here. This is the biggest class he has ever had to jump, and he coped extremely well. It was great. His owner is here this week, so she got to see him, and it all worked out pretty well.”

Kenny explained that the course was good for Alpha VDL’s first track at that level, noting, “Although it was big, it was a little bit spread out. That was good for him because it gave him time between the jumps. He is a very good horse. He is only nine years old, and he has just been getting better and better. Every time we step him up he just seems to do really well.”

“He is quite conventional to ride,” Kenny added. “He is very careful, and he has a good style. Whatever way I ride him, he seems to like it, so it works good for both of us. He tries really hard to leave the jumps up and that is very important in this sport.”

Second place finisher Czardas 30 is also stepping up his game this summer, and rider Kirsten Coe was very happy with his finish.

“It felt really good,” Coe stated. “That horse has really been knocking on the door. He has been coming along really nicely and jumping a lot of clear rounds. He felt very confident tonight, and I took a chance. He has been progressively moving through the divisions since we have been here. We are just building him up, but we really think a lot of him.”

Coe took over the reins on Czardas 30 this winter after the 11-year-old Hanoverian stallion (Contendro x Grannus) showed briefly with McLain Ward. She explained that it has been a great match ever since, and her mount really stepped up in Saturday’s final round.

“The jump-off was quite fast. There was plenty of room to gallop,” Coe noted. “I didn’t see Darragh go, but obviously it was very close. It was nice to have a top finish.”

Spooner Scores a Hat Trick

Competition kicked off in the Chinook Ring Friday morning with the $8,000 Francis Family Cup 1.45m where Richard Spooner (USA) got his third win in a row this week. Held in a faults converted format, the competition saw 30 entries jumping a course set by Manuel Esparza of Mexico. About halfway through the order, Spooner and Tuxedo cleared the course in a time of 66.44 seconds that would hold on for the win. The 13-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding (Gentleman x Hamilcar) is another brand new mount for Spooner riding for Legacy Stables LLC.

Darragh Kenny (IRL) guided Hyperion Stud LLC’s Chin Quidam VDL to second place honors in a time of 68.71 seconds. Frances Land (USA) and Vieanne placed third in 69.04 seconds. Kenny also took the fourth place prize in 69.48 seconds with Oakland Ventures LLC’s Fantasy.

Richard Spooner of USA riding Tuxedo
Richard Spooner of USA riding Tuxedo

“I don’t know what I ate, I don’t know what I ran into, but something happened right and I just have to try to figure out what it was,” Spooner smiled, commenting on his three-day sweep. He also won Thursday’s $33,500 Cargill Cup 1.50m with Cristallo and topped Friday’s $33,500 Duncan Ross Cup 1.50m aboard Uraguay. Although winning with veteran mount Cristallo is nothing new for the rider, Legacy Stables’ Uraguay and Tuxedo are both brand new horses that he has quickly figured out.

“Tuxedo is a wonderful horse,” Spooner stated after his win. “He is a top, top speed horse. I just got the ride of course, so we are still going through a little bit of growing pains, but today we felt great.”

“I am just learning the things he likes and the things he doesn’t like. He lets me know, which is nice of him,” Spooner said. “I think once I figure out the things that he is fond of we should hopefully have some success because he is unbelievably fast and careful and powerful. He actually really gets into it. He is a fascinating horse because you can feel him almost take over and he gets it. He gets that the goal is not to knock anything down and go as fast as you can, and if you get a horse that gets it like that, then they will be getting a lot of top ribbons.”

Detailing his round with Tuxedo, Spooner explained, “It was quick. I wouldn’t describe it as hair on fire, going 100% for broke, but it was quick and tidy. The horse is quite catty and his brakes are great, so you are able to really hit the gas when you land and stay off the brakes for longer than you can on other horses. Then you can kind of tap the brakes just a stride or two in front of the jump, and he settles right back into position. That gives you about a two-tenths of a second advantage at a good five or six jumps out there, and those tenths add up over the length of the course.”

Tuxedo is finished showing this week after a great win and will rest up for next week’s ‘North American’ Tournament.

Competition at the ‘Canada One’ Tournament will conclude on Sunday with the $33,500 West Canadian Cup 1.50m in the morning followed by the highlight $125,000 Imperial Challenge 1.55m in the afternoon in the Meadows on the Green. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Lauren Fisher for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

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Ireland Wins $125,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows

Richie Moloney and Slieveanorra. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Victory in $40,000 AltaGas Cup 1.45m Goes to Darragh Kenny

Calgary, AB, Canada – June 13, 2014 – The $125,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ presented by Scotiabank was held during the Spruce Meadows ‘Continental’ Tournament CSIO 5*, and seven teams from four countries competed for top honors. Team Ireland rode to victory with team members Shane Sweetnam/Eregast vant Kiezelhof, Richie Moloney/Slieveanorra, Darragh Kenny/Sans Souci Z, and Conor Swail/Lansdowne. Earlier in the day, Kenny had top honors with Postage Stamp Farm LLC’s Prof de la Roque over a large field of 91 competitors in the $40,000 AltaGas Cup 1.45m.

The ‘Continental’ CSIO 5* Tournament continues through the weekend with the $85,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m on Saturday, June 14, and the $210,000 CP Grand Prix on Sunday, June 15.

The $125,000 Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ presented by Scotiabank was the final regional qualifier for North and Central America in the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ Series. While Ireland won the competition, it was Canada and the United States who qualified from the region for the final this October in Barcelona.

Ireland took the second win in a row at the Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ at Spruce Meadows. Led by Chef d’Equipe Robert Splaine, the four riders put in solid performances in both rounds. Splaine remarked, “It’s an achievement. To win here is a fantastic honor. My job is easy; I had four guys who did their best in the ring. It’s a credit to them that they made a very difficult job look easy. A particular thanks to Scotiabank and to Spruce Meadows for putting on a great show again, (as well as) the owners of all the great horses, and the grooms who play a significant part.”

Swail and Moloney were a part of last year’s winning team as well, and they spoke to standing on the podium for the second year in a row. “The Americans were pressing us very hard, and we just kept pulling in clear rounds. It was a fantastic achievement for all of us,” Swail said. Moloney added, “It’s great to have an opportunity to compete in a Nations Cup, especially here at Spruce Meadows since it’s such a great facility. It’s always great to represent your country.”

In the first round, Kenny and Caroline Lloyd’s Sans Souci Z were the only totally clear trip for Ireland, despite losing a shoe before the fourth fence. “I was turning to number four, and I felt him slip a little bit. I knew the time allowed was still tight, so I had to be as quick as possible,” Kenny recalled. After getting the shoe put back on, they returned in the second round to have just one time fault.

Shane Sweetnam and Eregast vant Kiezelhof
Shane Sweetnam and Eregast vant Kiezelhof

Moloney and Sweetnam both had one time fault in round one and bettered their scores with clears in the second round. “When we walked the course, we definitely thought it was a challenge,” Sweetnam said. “(Course designer) Anthony (D’Ambrosio) did a great job. It was plenty big jumps out there. We were neck and neck with the Americans.”

After the first round, Ireland sat in first place with just two faults, while the United States “Stars” team had just four faults. Swail and Lansdowne did not have to return for the second round. The final score for Ireland after two rounds was three faults.

The “Stars” team added four faults in round two to finish on eight faults for second place. They were led by Charlie Jayne and Chill R Z, owned by Alex R. Jayne, who were the only double clear combination on the day with no jumping or time faults.

Jayne and Chill R Z went in fresh to the Nations Cup having not shown at Spruce Meadows this year before today. “He felt fantastic. He walked straight into the ring,” Jayne affirmed. “He jumped a great first round and even better the second round. I couldn’t be happier with him. I felt confident going early, knowing that he’s a solid horse and he’ll perform with any conditions.”

Jayne said he was “a little surprised” that he was the only double clear of the competition, but noted that time did play a factor in the class. “Riders took more chances than they would,” he said. “I rode it more like a speed round (in) the first round.”

With the qualifier at Spruce Meadows and this year’s new event in Coapexpan, Mexico, there are now three Furusiyya FEI Nations Cup™ qualifiers for North and Central America. Jayne said, “It’s great to have another Nations Cup in North America. It’s very important that we have this Nations Cup, and it’s great what Furusiyya and the FEI are doing.”

Splaine concluded, “This is top sport. I go to all of the Nations Cup shows. It was significantly tougher (here) than last year. They haven’t missed a beat at Spruce Meadows.”

Darragh Kenny Continues Winning Streak

Darragh Kenny and Prof de la Roque
Darragh Kenny and Prof de la Roque

There were 91 entries in the $40,000 AltaGas Cup 1.45m, making for a top jump-off of 11 horse and rider combinations. The early leader was Daniel Bluman (COL) on Believe, owned by Blue Star Investments. They set the time at 36.72 seconds, which held up for third place.

Four horses later, the time was dropped to 35.30 seconds by Eric Lamaze on Artisan Farms LLC’s Fine Lady 5, which looked good for the win but wasn’t quite enough when the last horse entered the ring.

Sitting in the final position in the jump-off, Kenny knew what he had to do for victory. “I knew Eric had to be very fast,” Kenny acknowledged. “He’s a very careful horse, and I just said ‘Ok, jump one, as tight as I can back to two, go to three, and then just relax to the double (combination), and then just go as fast as I could.”

The plan worked when Kenny and Prof de la Roque, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Kannan x Damiro, were efficient through the first five jumps on course and positively blistering through the final three jumps. They brought the winning time down to 34.42 seconds.

The victory and good ride for Prof de la Roque was a confidence builder for the horse, who slipped in a turn last week in the International Ring. “He came back this week, and he was a little bit worried about that. He was a little fresh, so he was a little bit tense the first day, and it didn’t go exactly to plan. Today he was amazing. He’s funny. Sometimes he’s so cocky and then sometimes, (he says) ‘Oh, you have to be there for me.’”

Kenny felt that the smaller Meadows on the Green ring suited Prof de la Roque. “The jumps come up a lot faster in here, and it’s very careful jumping in this ring. In the big (International) Ring, the jumps hold them off a little bit,” he noted. “In this ring, they don’t all. It’s a little bit more difficult in that, I find anyway. That’s why it suits him. My plan was always to try and do well in one of these classes this week.”

Kenny said that he doesn’t ride Prof de la Roque “all that much” when they’re not getting ready for the competition ring. “Delphine who works for us rides him a good bit. He’s kind of a high, energetic horse. She gets on really well with him and keeps him really relaxed. I ride him every so often,” he explained.

While he is still deciding Prof de la Roque’s schedule for the rest of the week, Kenny does know that he will lean on this horse more in the final three weeks of the Spruce Meadows Summer Series when some of his other horses travel to Europe. “He’s a great horse to have like that. I’m very lucky to have so many nice horses and so many people to own those great horses,” he said.

Competition on Saturday at the ‘Continental’ includes $8,000 Friends of the Meadows Cup 1.45m in the North American Ring and the $85,000 Talisman Energy Cup 1.50m in the Meadows on the Green. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

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Kenny Continues Dream of a Week, Azcarraga Is Best in Winning Round at Spruce Meadows ‘National’ Tournament

Darragh Kenny and Picolo. Photos © Spruce Meadows Media Services.

Calgary, AB, Canada – June 6, 2014 – Ireland’s Darragh Kenny continued a stellar week at the ‘National’ Tournament, presented by ROLEX, when he won the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m with Picolo. Jaime Azcarraga (MEX) and Matador were victorious in the $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup 1.50m Winning Round class.

The ‘National’ Tournament, presented by ROLEX, is the first of five tournaments in the Summer Series and runs through Sunday, June 8. The highlight of the week is Saturday’s $400,000 RBC Grand Prix presented by ROLEX. Also on Saturday is the $60,000 TransCanada Parcours de Chasse, while the 210,000 CNOOC Nexen Cup 1.50m Derby is on Sunday, June 8.

Watch highlights from Friday at the ‘National’!

For his second International Ring win ever, Darragh Kenny set an early unbeatable pace with Oakland Ventures LLC’s Picolo. The 11-horse jump-off in the $35,000 Encana Cup 1.45m was stacked full of big names like Spooner, Foster, Lamaze, and Ward, but Kenny and Picolo completed the jump-off course in their usual smooth fashion in 38.90 seconds. They were 1.3 seconds faster than Richard Spooner (USA) and Amparo Z, owned by Legacy Stables LLC (40.23 seconds). Third place went to Mac Cone (CAN) on Vannety B. They finished in 40.80 seconds.

“I knew there were a lot of people in the jump-off that were very fast,” Kenny acknowledged. “I had to go early in the jump-off. He’s a very capable horse; he’s very fast. I thought I’d just go for it and leave the door closed. Lucky enough, that worked out for me.”

Kenny was full of praise for Picolo, who is an 11-year-old gelding by Diamant de Semilly x Alme. “He just wins and wins and wins and tries so hard,” he said. “When you get a horse that wants to do that much for you, it’s incredible.”

This is only the second year that Kenny has shown at Spruce Meadows; last year he came with more clients and only had one horse for the major classes. “Now I’m lucky; I have a couple of very good owners and some really nice horses, and I get to do this at the level I want to do it at,” he said.

In just three days, Kenny has had 13 top three finishes across four competition rings on eight different horses. When asked if he thought he would have a week like this, he replied, “No, I didn’t. I know I have some good horses and some very competitive horses, but you have the best riders in the world here. To try and beat them is very, very difficult. It’s extremely difficult to win here. To do that, I’m very lucky. It’s all about what you’re riding. You can do the best you can, but if you’re riding something that doesn’t want to win, you have no chance.”

Kenny praised the facility of Spruce Meadows, with the variety of classes, competition rings, and support available. “It’s incredible that we have these sponsors and the chance to jump for this prize money in this ring. The feeling when you win here is unbelievable. To win twice in one week (in the International Ring), I’m very happy with that,” he smiled.

He continued, “It’s probably the most amazing facility in the world for show jumping. I love jumping on grass. I grew up in Ireland and always jumped on grass. To have the footing that they have here is absolutely brilliant. They have so many rings, and you can do so many things here.”

Azcarraga Tips Swail in Winning Round

The $35,000 RBC Capital Markets Cup Winning Round 1.50m had just 22 entries, but the exciting format brought back the top 10 to compete for speed in the second round. Going last in the class, Azcarraga knew exactly what he needed to accomplish, and he sped to victory in 45.77 seconds. He was chasing a time of 46.00 seconds set by Conor Swail (IRL) and Martha Louise, owned by Susan and Ariel Grange. Third place went to Ambosell I and Pablo Barrios (VEN), who stopped the clock in 46.31 seconds.

Jaime Azcarraga and Matador
Jaime Azcarraga and Matador

“I was able to see [Conor] because he went right in front of me. I was lucky to be behind because he was running really fast and I had to catch him,” Azcarraga said.

Azcarraga is a familiar face at Spruce Meadows, having first come to compete in 1985, and he has won through four decades. He was the winner of this class in 2008 on Forastero and is known for riding the famous stallions Chin Chin and Presley Boy. Azcarraga found Matador, a 12-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion by Indoctro x Corland, as a seven-year-old and has brought him along in preparation for top competitions. This is the horse’s second international competition.

“He really likes to do the job,” Azcarraga said of Matador. “He was very good on Wednesday, so I tried to ride him good, and he did the job. It feels good to work with the horses. Every horse is different and some take more time to develop. Matador is 12 years old now, and I think he’s ready.”

As an amateur rider, Azcarraga splits his time between riding “every day” in Mexico and running his family’s business. Azcarraga recalled, “I’m very happy to be here again. It’s tough to win here at Spruce Meadows. I was telling Norman Dello Joio, that to come from Mexico with the level we have, to jump here in the five-star is really shocking, to come here and see the fences. I try to come in the summers and do some trips for international shows. I have to take care of the business in Mexico, so it’s not so easy to go out and compete. But if you come here, you always keep the level. In the summer it’s a good place to stay in front.”

It was a great return to the International Ring for Swail, who severed his Achilles tendon riding Ariana at the Royal Winter Fair this past November. He has been off for more than six months.

“One of most difficult things is the mental side of it, where you have to wait for such a long time. When I got the injury, I was unaware of how big an injury it was. It’s a big ligament to damage for a show jumping rider,” he explained. “I have to say though, I got through it fine. It’s just a matter of getting healthy and being able to do the job. It’s fabulous to be back.”

Conor Swail and Martha Louise
Conor Swail and Martha Louise

Swail is very happy to be back in the ring and in the victory gallop. He said, “I thought today I was going to get in that winner’s circle. Ariana was third the other day and she was leading for a long time, and I thought that would have been nice. The horses are nice and fresh. I’m a little rusty still, so hopefully there is more to come. I’m delighted with how [Martha Louise] went today; she jumped a fabulous round. It was very fast. I’m happy to be second. It wasn’t our day today, but hopefully it’s just around the corner.”

Tomorrow’s schedule brings the highlight of the week, the $400,000 RBC Grand Prix, presented by ROLEX. Phase I begins at 9 a.m. MST, and Phase II will kick off at 2 p.m. MST. In between, the $60,000 Transcanada Parcours de Chasse speed class will run. For more information and full results, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

Based in Calgary, Canada, Spruce Meadows is the brainchild of the Southern family who built a Show Jumping complex at the foothills of the Alberta Rocky Mountains. It was in 1976 that the first Spruce Tournaments were held, with annual spectator attendances reaching over 50,000 by the end of the decade. Today, Spruce Meadows boasts one of the greatest outdoor equestrian venues in the world and offers an incredible experience for riders and fans alike. Spruce Meadows focuses on the organization and hosting of show jumping tournaments of unmatched quality for junior, amateur and professional athletes in a manner that reflects basic family values in a clean, green and welcoming environment that celebrates the horse and encourages the breeding and training of quality sport horses and the teaching and development of athletes. For more information on Spruce Meadows, please visit www.sprucemeadows.com.

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Alpha VDL Is Worth the Wait for Darragh Kenny as They Win HITS Saugerties $50,000 Grand Prix

©ESI Photography. Darragh Kenny and Alpha VDL jumped to a win in the $50,000 HITS Grand Prix.

SAUGERTIES, NY (May 26, 2014) – Darragh Kenny first saw Alpha VDL at the VDL Sport Horse Auction in Florida two years ago, and instantly knew he wanted to ride the then 7-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding. Kenny had to be patient however, until this past January, for his wish to come true. The pair was quick to find their way to the top, winning the $50,000 Grand Prix during Week V at HITS before topping the field in Sunday’s $50,000 HITS Grand Prix, presented by Zoetis, at HITS Saugerties.

“I knew he was going to be a winner,” Kenny said about his attraction to Alpha VDL, who is owned by Eva Castegren. “I wasn’t able to find someone to buy him for me when I saw him at the auction, but lucky that Eva gave me the opportunity this year. He tries so hard, is careful, eager and easy to ride.”

Kenny hails from Wellington, Florida and was the rider to beat from start to finish in the Strongid® C 2X™ Grand Prix Stadium, jumping the first clear round from the fifth spot in the original order. Seven more eventually joined him with clear rounds over a course designed by Marina Azevedo of Campinas, Brazil. Thirteen obstacles and 16 jumping efforts formed a test that served as a conclusion to the first week of grand prix qualifying for the Zoetis $1 Million Grand Prix at HITS-on-the-Hudson.

“This has always been a successful horse show for me and think that we [as riders] don’t always realize how lucky we are to compete for significant prize money during the HITS circuit and then jump for $1 million,” said Kenny. “To have not only one million-dollar class in the U.S., but three, gives us amazing opportunities.”

While thrilled with his clear round, Kenny was burdened with jumping first in the jump-off with the likes of McLain Ward, Christine McCrea, Todd Minikus, Darragh Kerins and Quentin Judge behind him.

Kenny left a stride out in the first line of the shortened course and “kicked all the way through the timers”, stopping the clock in 35.22 seconds, establishing the Great American Time to Beat.

“When I walked the course, the first line walked in nine, but Alpha has a big stride and we managed the eight,” said Kenny. “It’s always scary nerve wracking when people like McLain are behind you because they rarely make mistakes, so just hoped I was fast enough.”

Ward, of Brewster, New York, and Blue Chip Bloodstock’s Dulien Van De Smeets also jumped the first two fences in eight strides, but was a tenth slow. They clocked a time of 35.36 seconds and collected second.

Kenny was fortunate to appear in the jump-off twice and collected third aboard Hyperion, LLC’s Imothep with a clear effort in 36.76 seconds. He and Ward were the only riders to boast double-clear rounds.

Minikus, of Loxahatchee, Florida, and Quality Girl, owned by Quality Group, proved their reputation for speed with a time of 35.12 seconds. A heartbreak rail at the third fence left them with four faults and the white ribbon.

McCrea, who hails from East Windsor, Connecticut, claimed fifth in the irons aboard Candy Tribble’s Wannick WH, with four faults and a time of 39.83 seconds. Ward was sixth on Double H Farm’s HH Fleur, Kerins seventh with his own Zerro Leone, and Judge eighth aboard HH Whisky Royale for Double H Farm.

After deciding how to spend his Sunday winnings, the next big question for Kenny is who he will ride in the Zoetis Million this September. “I’m fortunate enough to have two horses with that kind of scope,” said Kenny of Alpha VDL and Imothep. “I’ll see how the rest of the summer goes and decide who is ready – they both have what it takes.”

About Zoetis
Building on 60 years of experience as Pfizer Animal Health, Zoetis delivers quality medicines and vaccines, complemented by diagnostics products and genetics tests and supported by a range of services. They work every day to better understand and address the real-world challenges faced by those who raise and care for animals in ways they find truly relevant. Zoetis produces a comprehensive range of safe and effective products, including equine vaccines, dewormers and sedative analgesics, to help professionals and individual horse owners keep their animals healthy. Both veterinarians and horse owners know and trust the Zoetis will help their horses live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.zoetis.com.

For more information and a complete schedule of classes and events, visit HitsShows.com. Stay connected with HITS: join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter!

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Alfano and Candid Are Picture Perfect for Grand Hunter Championship at Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows

Jennifer Alfano and Candid. Photos copyright The Book LLC.

Darragh Kenny and Picolo Capture 1.40m Jumper Win

North Salem, NY – May 7, 2014 – The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse shows awarded their first hunter championships of the season today, and taking the Grand Hunter Championship was Candid, ridden and owned by Jennifer Alfano of Buffalo, NY. In the Grand Prix Field, jumpers had plenty of entries as Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Picolo won over 53 others in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m class.

The Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows run May 6-11 and May 13-18 at Old Salem Farm in North Salem, NY. The shows feature over 130 hunter and jumper classes each week, bringing together top competitors, including Olympic show jumpers, from across the country to compete for almost $500,000 in prize money.

Candid’s performance in the Green Conformation Hunters garnered him the overall Grand Hunter Championship. On the first day, Candid and Alfano were first and third over fences and took the top ribbon in the under saddle and model classes. They finished with two more blue ribbons over fences. The reserve champion in the division was Winston, ridden by Brooke Baldwin-deGrazia and owned by Lannie Lipson. They won an over fences class and took four second places and a third in the rest of the division.

Alfano found Candid, who is called “Sheldon” after the TV character on “The Big Bang Theory,” a year ago through Terry Brown. The six-year-old Holsteiner gelding by Quintender was the third horse that she purchased just for herself.

“I actually own him myself, which is really fun,” she affirmed. “Terry finds great horses. I had bought another horse from her for myself, and I sold him in a week! I was really sad because I really liked him! Then she said, ‘I have another one for you.’ [Candid is] a really fun horse, and he’s gotten really consistent. He’s very aware of his surroundings. He’s not spooky at the jumps, but he’s aware of everything that’s happening, so I think it gives him a really good presence in the ring.”

Although Candid is an investment, Alfano does hope to keep him through the rest of the year. “Eventually I’ll sell him, but I would love to keep him through his First Year year, just because I’m really having a good time. I’m not sure I’ll own one as nice as him again! I’m enjoying it.”

This is Alfano’s first time competing at the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows. “I like it,” she said. “Everything has been nice. The jumps are beautiful, and the ring looks really pretty. So far we’re having a really good time!”

Darragh Kenny and Picolo
Darragh Kenny and Picolo

In a class of 54 entries, Darragh Kenny and Picolo, an 11-year-old Selle Francais gelding by Diamant de Semilly owned by Oakland Ventures, took the top spot in the $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m class with a clear round in a time of 32.493 seconds. Second place went to Balboa 6, ridden by Leslie Howard for Martin Guerra. Their time was 32.709 seconds, while McLain Ward rode Blue Chip Bloodstock’s Dulien van de Smeets to third place in 32.919 seconds.

Picolo has continued his success that started near the end of this winter’s FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival, where they had top three performances in FEI world ranking classes. Kenny noted, “He’s very, very competitive, and he’s really fun. He was second in a $100,000 grand prix last summer, and I’ll start to graduate him up to bigger classes again. He was a little bit sick during the winter; he had ulcers. We’ve taken our time getting him right. He was just right at the end of Florida and showed week 11. After that, he went and had a good break out in the field before we came here.”

Kenny said that Picolo’s personality and easygoing nature is what makes him stand out. “He’s my pet. Actually, he’s everybody in the barn’s pet,” he expressed. “They all love him. He’s just a fun horse to have around. Anyone can ride him; he’s so easy. He goes in a soft rubber snaffle. You don’t put any boots on him. Everybody can flat him, anyone can jump him.”

The opportunity to show on the grass Grand Prix Field at Old Salem Farm was one that Kenny took advantage of, along with many top show jumpers. “It’s a fantastic preparation. For me, I really love coming to this horse show. I think it’s a great preparation for Spruce Meadows. You get out on the grass, and there are good hills. And for all of my clients, it’s great. They get used to it. It’s a very different thing to ride on a hilly ring with grass than a flat, sand ring. The jumps come up faster and come up at different angles. It changes how the horses jump the jumps.”

Kenny and Picolo will be back in action for Friday’s $35,000 New York Welcome Stake. Tomorrow’s horse show highlights include Grand Adult Amateur Hunter Championship and another $5,000 Open Jumper 1.40m class.

WATCH LIVE! The $50,000 Old Salem Farm Grand Prix on May 11, the $10,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby on May 17, and the $100,000 Empire State Grand Prix on May 18 will all be broadcast on the USEFNetwork.com presented by SmartPak. You may watch these events as they happen at www.USEFNetwork.com or www.oldsalemfarm.net. All classes in the Grand Prix Field and Sand Ring are also livestreamed daily at www.shownet.biz.

Full horse show results can be found at www.horseshowsonline.com.

Visit the Old Salem Farm and Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows Facebook pages for results, photo galleries, and more! Old Salem Farm has joined Twitter and Instagram too – follow us to see exclusive photos and videos, let us know what you like about our events, and share your experiences.

Old Salem Farm, located just one hour north of New York City, is one of the best equestrian competition venues in North America, as rated by the North American Riders Group in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Host of the Old Salem Farm Spring Horse Shows, the prestigious American Gold Cup CSI-W 4*, and year-round competitions, the facility offers a state-of-the-art turf grand prix field, indoor riding arena, and two all-weather footing rings. As a boarding and training facility, Old Salem Farm is second to none and home to top trainer Frank Madden. For more information, please visit www.oldsalemfarm.net or call 914-669-5610.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com

Nick Dello Joio, Sloane Coles, and Darragh Kenny Top Adequan Young Jumper Classics

Nick Dello Joio and Boomerang. Photos © Sportfot.

Sara Ballinger and Wanderprinz Earn Top Call in Ariat National Adult Medal

Wellington, FL – March 28, 2014 – The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF) hosted classics for the young jumpers on Friday during its twelfth and final week of competition at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL. In the $20,000 Adequan 8-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, Nick Dello Joio (USA) and Boomerang were the winners. Sloane Coles (USA) and WEC l’Ami Noir topped the $20,000 Adequan 7-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, and Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Dakota VDL won the $15,000 Adequan 6-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic.

FTI WEF week twelve, sponsored by FTI Consulting, continues through March 30, 2014. Saturday will feature the $100,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final and $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI 5* along with round one of the $50,000 USHJA International Hunter Derby, which concludes on the derby field on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Live streaming is available on Saturday, March 29, at approximately 6:30 p.m. EST for the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix CSI 5*. Live streaming will begin with the $100,000 Suncast 1.50m Championship Jumper Series Final Jump-off. Watch here: http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/2014-fti-finale-grand-prix-live.

Anthony D’Ambrosio (USA) set the tracks for Friday’s young jumper classes in the International Arena at PBIEC. All of the classes were held with the option to either jump-off immediately following their round or wait until after the first round of competition. In the $20,000 Adequan Eight-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic, 61 entries showed with eight to jump-off, and five double clear rounds. Nick Skelton (GBR) led the way with Aristio for most of the class, jumping off early in 38.60 seconds, but eventually moved into third place. Adam Prudent (FRA) jumped off after his round with Henri Prudent’s Si Bella and briefly took the lead in 38.09 seconds, but was pushed into second. Nick Dello Joio (USA) chose to return for his jump-off round at the end, and took over for the win with Emilie Martinsen’s Boomerang in 37.35 seconds.

Boomerang, a KWPN gelding by Orlando x Lux, is a horse that Martinsen rode last summer and then asked Dello Joio to ride with the idea to bring him along and sell.

“I am privileged to ride him,” Dello Joio stated after his win. “He is full of character. He is a small horse, but he has more scope and more range than any horse I think I have ever ridden. He is a bit cheeky and has a lot of personality. I think all of that combined is what makes him a super horse.”

“I have been riding him at this circuit for five or six weeks, and I think it is time for him to move up,” the rider noted. “This is a good division for him, but he is better over a bigger fence, so I think it’s time to see what he’s got. We have schooled him at home and other places, and when the horse jumps bigger, he is way more focused. When he jumps smaller, it is just too easy for him. It’s like (Michael) Jordan playing street ball or something. It’s not fair, so I’m excited to take him to the next level.”

Commenting on the ride and his decision to wait to jump-off until the end, Dello Joio explained, “With horses like him, you always want to keep them a little bit under your thumb. You want to keep them with you and together. He’s not a horse that you want to get off his back and let him do what he wants. You have to kind of work together, and that is when he is at his best, and his most focused.”

“In the first round, maybe I left him a little bit too fresh,” Dello Joio mused. “He is so gamey; he is so on it, so he finished the first round, and I thought I would just bring him out and let him chill. I wanted to re-school him and get his focus again, and then go back in and have a round like that, and it paid off.”

For his round in the jump-off, Dello Joio asked the advice of his father, Norman, heading in. “I asked dad what he thought about it, if we wanted to push him or how important this class was for him,” the rider explained. “He just said, ‘Be smart and be smooth.’ The horse is so quick across the ground; his stride eats it up for a little horse. I had to almost chip and do the nine (strides) down the last line. Everyone else was galloping and I could have done eight if I really needed to, but I saw the clock and I was like, ‘All right, wait, easy.’ I just made neat turns and used his stride to my advantage. I have never really put any gas on the fire, so it worked out.”

Dello Joio plans to step Boomerang up a little bit in the months to come and knows that the horse has a great future. “There are some shows here in April, so maybe we will pull him out one week and jump one of the grand prix classes here on him quietly, without a ton of people, and just see what he does and see how he reacts to it,” he said. “Then the plan is for him to go to Old Salem and Spruce Meadows, which I think will be fantastic mileage for him. Old Salem is an amazing venue, and Calgary, there is no better in the world for experience for horses. If he keeps going like that, he is a super horse, so I think he will get sold.”

Sloane Coles and WEC l’Ami Noir Win $20,000 Adequan Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic

The $20,000 Adequan Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic was featured at the FTI WEF on Friday afternoon with 20 out of 72 entries making it through to the jump-off and 13 double clear rounds over Anthony D’Ambrosio’s short course. Early on, Sloane Coles (USA) and The Windwood Group’s WEC l’Ami Noir set a very fast pace in 30.84 seconds that would hold on to the lead through the end. Ronan McGuigan (IRL) and Blythe Masters’ Chapeau finished second in 30.96 seconds. Tim Gredley (GBR) and Unex Billy Dream placed third in 31.65 seconds, and Ramiro Quintana (ARG) and St. Bride’s Farm’s Tua Efele finished fourth in 32.22 seconds.

Sloane Coles and WEC l'Ami Noir
Sloane Coles and WEC l’Ami Noir

WEC l’Ami Noir is a Holsteiner gelding by Cormint x Corrado I that owners at The Windwood Group purchased as a five-year-old. Coles started riding l’Ami two months ago and has been showing the gelding in the seven-year-old classes throughout the last half of the FTI WEF circuit, including a win during week ten leading up to the final.

“When the owners bought him, they kind of knew that he was going to be a grand prix horse, and I think he has proven that already as a seven-year-old,” Coles noted. “He is just very scopey and very careful. He is light on his feet and quick off the ground. He wants to be a winner; he really wants to be fast. The rideability is there, it is getting better, but he is just a super horse and I am looking forward to having him in the future.”

Speaking of l’Ami’s personality, Coles described, “When we first got him, he was a little bit funny. He didn’t want to be loved on and he was a little weird, but now we are spoiling him and he is really developing a personality. He is very put together, almost proud of himself. He is big and beautiful and he knows he is a good horse, which is good.”

“I didn’t start showing him here until maybe week six, but he has done the seven-year-old classes the whole circuit,” she detailed. “Today was bigger than it has been down here, and I feel like he just stepped up. I feel like he definitely could have jumped bigger today if he had to. His stride is huge. I left out strides in a couple of places in the jump-off, and I think that is how I won it.”

Coles heads back to her base in Middleburg, VA, after this week and shows in Virginia and Kentucky throughout the summer with the goal of the Seven-Year-Old Young Jumper Championships at the Hampton Classic in August.

Darragh Kenny and Dakota VDL Top $15,000 Adequan Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic

The $15,000 Adequan Six-Year-Old Young Jumper Classic was the first class in the International Arena at PBIEC on Friday with a win for Darragh Kenny (IRL) and Hyperion Stud LLC’s Dakota VDL. The six-year-old Holsteiner stallion (Casall x Contender) was purchased from VDL Stud two years ago for the highest bid of $210,000 at the 2012 WEF Sport Horse Auction in Wellington. Kenny started riding the horse this year in the middle of January and showed throughout the winter at the 1.30m level.

In Friday’s six-year-old classic, the pair topped a class of 63 entries where 26 advanced to the jump-off. They had the fastest time of 34.60 seconds out of 11 double clear rounds. Sloane Coles and The Windwood Group’s WEC Damokles finished second in 35.25 seconds. Alex Granato (USA) guided Page Tredennick’s Calchen W to third place honors in 35.28 seconds, and Darrin Dlin (CAN) and Susan Grange’s Tienna placed fourth in 35.70 seconds.

Darragh Kenny and Dakota VDL
Darragh Kenny and Dakota VDL

“He is really a special horse,” Kenny praised. “He was already jumping the 1.30m easy. He basically did not do any of the six-year-old classes all winter because we wanted to jump him a little bit bigger. He has huge scope, and he is very careful. He is very, very competitive and today he was super.”

“He is super easy,” the rider added. “There is nothing difficult about him. He doesn’t spook, he has loads of jump, he is very careful and easy to ride. It is an easy thing to go in and try to win a class like this on him. He makes my life very easy, so that’s nice. The idea is to just keep building him up and see where he goes. I think he has all the ability to be a top horse.”

Kenny commented on the course, stating, “I thought it was very good. It was a little technical and a little spooky, which was good. The good horses ended up at the top and that was the right way to do it.”

Kenny and Dakota VDL had an impressive round through D’Ambrosio’s short course to conclude their FTI WEF circuit with a win, and Kenny looks forward to furthering the horse’s potential when they show together again in Canada this summer.

“I think actually on Monday he is going to leave to go back to Hyperion Stud in Virginia to start breeding,” Kenny noted. “He will do a lot of breeding for April and some of May and then he will come to Spruce Meadows for me to jump. He will keep breeding for the future and then we will keep showing him and see where it goes.”

Sara Ballinger and Wanderprinz Earn Top Call in Ariat National Adult Medal

Sara Ballinger of Marion, OH, and her 12-year-old Hanoverian gelding Wanderprinz finished first in the Ariat National Adult Medal on Friday morning of week twelve at the FTI WEF. Ballinger and Wanderprinz were the final pair to enter the ring, earning a high score of 86 to return for the test.

The top four riders were called back for further testing. Meredith Combs was first to test, scoring an 82 with Cassius in the first round before ultimately finishing second. Third place went to Emma Butchard and Conquest. The pair earned an 83 in the first round. Barri Platt completed the top four aboard Avanti Maria, scoring an 85 in the first round and finishing fourth overall.

Ballinger has owned Wanderprinz since she imported him as a four-year-old. Seven years later, the pair has developed a close bond. Ballinger prides herself on the fact that she does all of the care for Wanderprinz and her other horse, Pizzaro, who she competes in the jumper divisions.

Wanderprinz also started out as a jumper, but a lack of speed led Ballinger to experiment with the adult equitation divisions. The dark bay gelding took it well, and the two have forged a fruitful equitation career together. Ballinger won the Ariat National Adult Medal during week eight of the FTI WEF, in addition to division champion in the Adult Equitation division.

Wanderprinz may have left the jumper ring behind, but the skills he learned in the jumper divisions groomed him for success as an equitation mount.

“The jumpers really helped with all the turns. He knows when he lands to pay attention to me for where to go, since it’s not always straight [down the line],” Ballinger explained.

Ballinger was thrilled with her first round course, commenting, “The first round was great. I loved the course. It was an actual equitation course. I thought it was super.”

Of her plan for her course, Ballinger said, “[I wanted] to stay smooth and kind of round all the turns. Just keep a nice pace the whole way, keep the same pace. I think keeping the same pace, like the plan was, really helped [in getting called back to test]. Also executing the corners correctly. We’ve been practicing that, especially this week.”

As the last rider to go, Ballinger, who trains with Lourdes De Guardiola, wasn’t able to get in any extra practice before returning to the ring right away to test. The judge asked riders to canter fences one and two, where they had the option to tighten the sweeping left turn. Riders then continued turning left to trot fence three, a brick wall, before having a tight right turn to hand gallop fence four. Riders where then asked to halt and return to line at the sitting trot.

Ballinger felt confident after hearing the test, remaining focused on maintaining a good rhythm even if it meant sacrificing handier turns.

“Sometimes I have a little trouble leaving the line with the same pace. That’s why I stayed out a little bit to the first jump. I didn’t cut the turn. I’d rather stay out a little and sacrifice that, but get the pace,” she shared.

Ballinger’s ultimate goal for the week is the Beval Palm Beach Adult Medal Final on Sunday. Hunter and equitation competition continues on Saturday at the FTI WEF with the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter Over 35 division in the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Arena. For full results, please visit www.showgroundslive.com.

About FTI Consulting, Inc.

FTI Consulting, Inc. is a global business advisory firm dedicated to helping organizations protect and enhance enterprise value in an increasingly complex legal, regulatory and economic environment. With more than 4,000 employees located in 24 countries, FTI Consulting professionals work closely with clients to anticipate, illuminate and overcome complex business challenges in areas such as investigations, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues, reputation management, strategic communications and restructuring. The company generated $1.58 billion in revenues during fiscal year 2012. For more information, visit www.fticonsulting.com.

About the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival

The 2014 FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival has 12 weeks of top competition running from January 8 through March 30. The FTI WEF is run by Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, and Wellington Equestrian Partners and held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. All 12 shows are “AA” rated and Jumper Rated 6, and more than $7 million in prize money will be awarded.

Please visit www.equestriansport.com or call 561-793-5867 for more information.

Lauren Fisher and Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.
Equestrian Public Relations
info@jenniferwoodmedia.com